The Science Behind Hearing Aids

How well you hear affects the quality of your life. Poor communication, frustration and withdrawal in social situations and difficulty in hearing aidsprocessing information all result from hearing loss. Hearing aids assist people of all ages by supporting the hearing abilities people have. Board-certified otolaryngologist in Frederick, MD, Dr. Kirby Scott, teaches patients about the kinds of hearing loss and about the science that improves function through the devices we call hearing aids.

Kinds of Hearing Loss

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders says there are 3 kinds of hearing loss:

  1. Conductive--related to how sound waves pass through the ear drum and bones of the middle ear
  2. Sensorineural--often an age-related deficit in how sound is picked up by the acoustic nerve and arrives at the brain
  3. Mixed--a combination of conductive and sensorineural loss
  4. Central--the brain's inability to process sound signals it receives from the ear

Hearing aids from your Frederick otolaryngologist can address conductive, sensorineural and mixed hearing loss. Other therapies such as ear wax (cerumen) removal, insertion of tubes to drain fluid and pharmaceuticals to quell infection are among the many treatments your Otolaryngologist from Central ENT Consultants employs to correct hearing deficits.

The Science Behind Hearing Aids

Hearing involves more than volume of sound. The pitch, or frequency, of sound waves plays an important role in what we hear and how well we hear it. Additionally, things such as background noise and direction of sound affect clarity. People who are beginning to perceive a hearing loss often complain of difficulty in understanding soft voices, such as those of young children, and of struggling with noisy environments and the direction of various sounds.

Fortunately, modern hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where many devices are programmable and adjustable specific to the wearer's kind of hearing loss. There are 2 basic types of hearing aid technology:

  • Analog--which receives sound waves through a microphone and amplifies them, adjusting for crowded environments, according to the audiologist's programming
  • Digital--which changes sound saves into numerical codes, amplifying certain frequencies more than others as needed and adjusting for direction of sound

What can a Hearing Aid Do for You?

You won't know until you get a complete physical exam from Dr. Scott and a hearing evaluation from our audiologist, Michelle Garrett. They will pinpoint the cause of your hearing issues and if necessary recommend the hearing device just right for your situation. Call Central ENT Consultants in Frederick, MD today for an appointment: (301) 739-0400.